The graduate Program in Architecture + Health at Clemson University celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018, having been initially formed in 1968 by Professor George C. Means Jr., FAIA.

It was founded on the principles of what is now known as evidence-based design with a 10-year grant from the South Carolina Department of Mental Health.

That effort involved interdisciplinary collaboration with public agencies and mental health professionals and led to the development of the research, design and construction of three mental health facilities. The research was published in peer-reviewed medical journals including Hospital & Community Psychiatry.

In addition to being one of the two oldest programs of its kind in the United States, it remains the most structured and comprehensive program of its kind with 40 required credit hours of coursework dedicated to the intersection of architecture, health and health care. Coursework is delivered through an integrated sequence of design studios and seminars in a setting structured similar to a professional office.

The professional degree studio is physically integrated with the program’s research enterprise — The Center for Health Facilities Design and Testing — where professional and research faculty, Master of Architecture, Master of Science and Ph.D. students share co-joined workspace. The intent is to create a collaborative milieu where Master of Architecture students are working closely and collaboratively with Ph.D. students and faculty in design and research efforts.

The ultimate goal of the program is to not only generate new knowledge that is applicable to design and design decision making, but prepare future architects to understand research, translate it effectively and apply it appropriately within the practice of health care architecture.